Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey facing disciplinary hearing for 'hiding symptoms'

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey facing disciplinary hearing over alleged misconduct

Cafferkey being transported to hospital in isolation to receive treatment for the Ebola virus

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pauline Cafferkey, a nurse who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, is facing a disciplinary hearing linked to her return to the UK.

Draft allegations against Cafferkey, which surfaced last month, accused her of concealing her temperature during routine checks when she arrived back in Britain in December 2014.

It was also alleged that the Scottish medical worker gave dishonest answers to staff during her medical screening at Heathrow airport.

Cafferkey's case will be heard at a fitness-to-practise hearing in Edinburgh today and Wednesday. It is unknown whether she will attend the hearing and the final allegations have not been published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The registered nurse travelled to Sierra Leone at the height of the Ebola crisis to work with those affected. She returned to London and then travelled on to Scotland before being diagnosed, and spent almost a month being treated in an isolation unit at London's Royal Free Hospital.

The volunteer recovered but was re-admitted to hospital on two separate occasions after suffering complications linked to the disease, and at one stage fell critically ill.

The NMC, which has the power to strike workers off the professional register, alleged that Cafferkey "allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded" on December 29 2014 and "intended to conceal from Public Health England staff that she had a temperature higher than 38C".

After details of the draft charges emerged in August, an NMC spokesman said: "Since the NMC's case examiners considered the allegations and drafted charges, we have received further evidence.

"The final charges the panel will consider will be determined in light of this new material."

In July, Cafferkey spoke of her stress that the misconduct allegations remained unresolved almost two years after her return to the UK.

She told The Sunday Telegraph: "I don't know why it has not been finished. It's very stressful. It would be nice to have closure."

Ms Cafferkey said the NMC apologised for mistakenly releasing the allegations on its website in advance of the hearing.

She told the BBC: "I would very much hope that after the case has been considered by the panel the matter will be at an end."